Thursday, April 29, 2010


Walk into the back door of most folks houses and you'll find an old pair of shoes, maybe some dirty boots. But I had to chuckle yesterday when I walked in and realized there were four horse boots along side four of my own, just waiting to welcome folks that might come in. :-)
Since I have been riding the horses in Easyboot Gloves rather than shoes, the easyboots have come in the house. They are easier to put on when they are a bit warm. Hey I did wash them before I brought them in.
Most folks have never seen such a thing, either in the house or on the horse. Often when I ride people will say something like "Well now I've never seen shoes like those!" So I have to give them the whole story on the boots. And those that have horses often look at me with disdain and ask why do I bother and not just shoe?
Well I've always believed that horses are better off barefoot. The frog makes good ground contact, pumps the blood and the hoof is healthier due to better circulation. Look at the hoofprints on the trail and with the shod horses all you see is the shoe imprint. But the barehoof leaves an imprint of the hoof outline, the frog, and perhaps even the detail of the bars and cleft of the frog. You seldom see contracted heels in a barefoot horse and the walls are often thicker and stronger. For years I have ridden horses barefoot as much as possible, shoeing only when necesary. Usually that meant shoes on about a week before the first ride and off right after the last ride of the season. Last summer in a gap between endurance rides I pulled Thunder's shoes and gave his hooves a break for a month. Because of this transitioning my horses over to a bare hoof lifestyle wasn't too difficult.
In past years I tried to just use Easyboots, Epics or Bares. But I never could quite solve the problems with them. So I'd end up shoeing just before ride season began again. The boots would go in the cantle bag as my spare tire if I lost a shoe. The new Gloves however have solved a lot of the previous hang ups of booting (rubbing, losing them, forging), and with help from some friends I got them working on both the boys.
When I first started using the Gloves I was forever looking down to be sure that all four were still on. Now I don't really think about it too much. I know I "can" lose one but so far they have stayed on through rocks, washes, sand, water and silly behavior from my horse. I did worry a bit about that first endurance ride in them but even that went just fine. So, just like when I was a kid, I can go out and trim the hooves and keep them at a consistent length and in good condition. If I get behind I can still get my farrier to come help me out.
Admittedly, booting and bare feet aren't for everyone. Because some folks don't like to trim or fiddle with hooves and boots. They just want to saddle up and ride, which is fine. But I like knowing what is going on with my horses and so far the boots aren't that time consuming. I can pick out the hooves and put on four boots in less than ten minutes. Now later on when I try to glue some on, that theory will probably change. But in the long run I still like the idea of bare hooves and letting the horses go "bootscootin'" down the trail!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Top 10 Things about the WIND!

So on this more than blustery gusty day of wins varying from 30 - 45 mph, I pondered the subject of wind. Hmmmmm.....

1. No bugs. They can't fly in the wind either evidently.
2. Your garbage blows into the next county - or state out here. However, I have more neighbors trash hanging in my fence so this is not a good thing!
3. Dry clothes. Heck no clothes - they blew away!
4. The corral is clean of all debris if you get my drift. Manure happens and blows away!
5. New hairstyle - the "windblown" look. Oh c'mon, snicker just a little.
6. You could fly a kite but you better have an anchor or you may just go with the kite!
7. No fog! No mud either because it all dried up! Oh wait that's two things!
8. If it's fall you won't have to rake the leaves because they are gone!
9. If you owned a wind turbine you could generate electricity! Make a fortune!
10. Set sail with your boat or hang glider and let your destination be a surprise!!!

However, why can't it just blow the hair off that shedding horse so I don't have to brush him??

Saturday, April 3, 2010

We are Tough Suckers!!!!

We left home in high winds and driving rain mixed with snow Friday on our way to the first ride of the season, Tough Sucker. This year the ride was held at Regina Rose's a few miles out of Oreana, Idaho.

Regina's place is near the site of the Utter Disaster, a bit of early Idaho history. On September 9, 1860, the Elijah P. Utter wagon train was attacked by Indians along the South Alternate of the Oregon Trail northeast of the present day town of Murphy, Idaho. The attack on the 44-member wagon train resulted in the deaths of 11 emigrants and an estimated 25-30 Indians.
The view of the snow covered Owyhees greeted us Saturday morning. The wind was cold but at least we had sun. The rain and snow had subsided and there were two brave riders on the 75, about 30 on the 50 miler and close to 20 on the 25. Considering the weather, it was a great turnout. I had planned on the 75 myself but decided Friday that there was no way I was doing 75 miles in that cold cold wind. And I'm glad I just rode the 50.
Thunder was really good at the start and we teamed up with Lynn White. Her mare Agnes traveled the same pace as Thunder and it was a great day! I had many layers of clothes so I wasn't cold even in the wind. Actually everyone was so buried in layers of clothes that it was tough to know who was who. We went out to Wild Horse Butte and along the Snake River. We passed through the Birds of Prey area and rode a portion of the Oregon Trail. The footing was fantastic!
This was also our first endurance ride in the Easyboot Gloves on Thunder and they worked beautifully. We did have one gaitor rub but a little vet wrap took care of it and he was fine. We did the 50 in a bit over 7 hours finishing 12th. We vetted through with no problems and I thought he looked great!
What a day! We all earned the title of being tough suckers! An apprpriate name for this fun but cold ride!!